Tuesday’s World Series finale was bad for baseball, according to Duane Kuiper, and it has nothing to do with the Dodgers hoisting the World Series trophy.
Kuiper was careful to praise the Dodgers for their accomplishment when he joined Murph & Mac on Wednesday morning, saying that LA’s first title since 1988 may have been one of the hardest of all time considering the circumstances.
Rather it was two other incidents — Rays manager Kevin Cash pulling Blake Snell after giving up just his second hit in the fifth inning and Justin Turner celebrating with his teammates after testing positive for COVID — that spoiled the night in Kuiper’s eyes.
“When it was all said and done, Major League baseball took a step backwards last night for two reasons,” Kuiper said. “One, when you remove a guy from a game like Tampa Bay did with their starting pitcher, then baseball took a step backwards.
“The stuff with Justin Turner after the game with the team picture, in some ways I get it because of how important it is as a team to get one of your guys to be part of the celebration, but this is different now. It’s not the same.”
Snell was pulled after just 73 pitches, The decision was especially curious, considering that the next three batters, the top of the Dodgers’ order, were 0-for-6 with six strikeouts up to that point.
Alas, the decision was made, and it only took a few minutes to backfire. Reliever Nick Anderson, promptly gave up a double, a game-tying wild pitch and an RBI groundout, putting the Rays behind in the game for the first time, 2-1.
“They yanked the sheets on this kid,” Kuiper said. “According to what some of his teammates said, best ‘I’ve ever seen him throw.'”
“Snell having faced Mookie Betts five times, having struck him out four times, and he’s 0-5 lifetime, isn’t that analytics? Or how about this? Isn’t that common sense?”
Kuiper then imagined what it would’ve been like had Cash tried to pull the same maneuver with Madison Bumgarner in the 2014 World Series.
“If we go by the formula Tampa Bay used throughout the postseason, Madison Bumgarner comes out after the seventh inning in Game 7 of 2014, he’s out! They’d leave it up to somebody else.
“The other thing is you don’t have the personalities like Madison Bumgarner who if Cash would come out to take Bumgarner out, there would’ve been a fight.”
Kuiper also believes that the decision could have some long term ramifications regarding the relationship between the Rays players and Cash moving forward.
“I read some of the comments of the Rays players, and they’re being really diplomatic, but even through their lying mouths, they’re not buying it at all.
“‘This is how we got here.’ Yeah this is how you got here, but this is the World Series. You do things a little different in the World Series.”
Listen to the full interview below.